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Original Issue



Actual slogan in the Expos' we-need-a-new-ballpark campaign:
Imagine the show. Actual quote from Montreal general manager Jim
Beattie: "We're not trying to win." Imagine that.

Forget the National League East. What the Expos are trying to
capture is the public's interest, not to mention some of its
cash. If by July the club has sold close to its goal of at least
12,000 personal seat licenses for a new ballpark, Montreal
expects in 2001 to be playing in a downtown, 35,000-seat bandbox
and to have a payroll in the range of $35 million--at least
triple its meager 1998 total of $10 million. If the Expos do not
sell enough PSLs by midsummer (only 4,000 had been purchased by
mid-March) the team will be put up for sale and probably moved.

Le Parc Ideal, as the brochures promoting the stadium gush,
would cost $176 million, with $56 million coming from PSLs and
$28 million from naming rights. Government and private funds
would provide the rest. Because the stadium would be built
across from the Molson Centre, the two-year-old home of the
Montreal Canadiens, the Expos believe a rival brewery, Labatt's,
would be a natural sponsor. Then they could call the place
Labatt Rack, and could taxi relievers to the mound in a

"Montreal is a city of festivals all summer long: music, jazz,
art, theater," Beattie says. "It's a late-night city. People go
out to eat at 10 o'clock. We see baseball fitting perfectly in
that 7-to-10 window when people can walk over to the ballpark
and see the Expos."

The club has commissioned a smorgasbord of ballpark renderings
to use as sales tools--balsa architectural models,
computer-enhanced photos and artists' sketches--a campaign that
will cost $1 million-plus, more than Montreal will pay all but
two of its players, lefthander Carlos Perez and outfielder
Rondell White.

Forgive those in uniform, however, if they can't imagine such a
rosy future. In its 30th year, this team has yet to win its
first full-season title. Dismayed by another off-season of
watching management cast off his best (read: expensive) players,
manager Felipe Alou played hard-to-get with the media all
winter, reasoning that that was better than answering the same
old questions. Shortstop Mark Grudzielanek opted for openness,
unimpressed by Beattie's claim that "we're already going down
the path to having a competitive team ready for 2001."

"I don't want to wait around for 2001 for a winning team," the
27-year-old Grudzielanek says. "The next three to five years
should be my best, and I feel I have a lot to contribute to a
championship team. I can't believe this franchise calls itself a
major league organization with a payroll of $10 million--and
we're supposed to play teams with $50 million payrolls?"

Grudzielanek is one of only 10 players from last year's Opening
Day roster still in the organization. The 36-man spring training
squad--which includes no one whose big league career predates
the Clinton Administration--has spent fewer days in the majors
(26 years, 28 days) than the Baltimore DH platoon of Harold
Baines and Joe Carter.

In what has become an annual ritual, Montreal is grooming a
group of young talents, including sensational rightfielder
Vladimir Guerrero, 22, second baseman Orlando Cabrera, 23 and
righthander Carl Pavano, 22, who was obtained in the trade that
sent National League Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez to the
Red Sox. One American League scout called Pavano "the best
pitching prospect in all the minor leagues" last season.

"When I traded Pedro, my goal was to find the best young
starting pitcher with less than one year of major league
service," Beattie says. "[Indians righthander] Jaret Wright
wasn't available. He pitched too well in the postseason."

Guerrero, Cabrera and Pavano, however, face the same uncertain
future as did every other Expos star from Larry Walker to John
Wetteland to Martinez: Where will they be after five years of
big league service? White is the only Montreal player under
contract beyond this year. Beattie intends to sign his top young
players to long-term deals--that's the early '90s Cleveland
blueprint that Milwaukee and Pittsburgh also have adopted--but
without the green light for the ballpark, "we're doing it not
quite as aggressively as the others." Uh-huh.

Grudzielanak would seem to be one of those building blocks. He
was an All-Star in 1996 and tied a league record last year for
doubles by a shortstop (54). Yet his take on committing to a
future in Montreal suggests the Expos have as much selling to do
in their own clubhouse as outside of it. Says Grudzielanek,
"It's stupid for me to say I want to be here. I want to win."


COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS WAVE GOOD-BYE The betting is Perez will soon be joining other costly former Expos on the money train out of Montreal. [Carlos Perez pitching]



1997 Team Statistics (NL rank)
1997 record: 78-84 (fourth in NL East)

RUNS SCORED 691(10) ERA 4.14(7)
HOME RUNS 172(4) FIELDING PCT. .979(14)


WHAT THEY NEEDED: Restocking after their annual clearance sale
of quality players, the Expos are always looking for cheap,
young talent.

WHAT THEY GOT: Pitchers Miguel Batista, Shawn Boskie and Mike
Maddux; outfielders Derrick May and Lee Tinsley; third baseman
Scott Livingstone.

WHAT IT ALL MEANS: This team will be bad. Pedro Martinez, Henry
Rodriguez and Mike Lansing had outstanding years, so they were
traded. Now, sluggers Rondell White and Vladimir Guerrero must
carry the load...until they're traded. Meanwhile, the Expos win
MLB's annual "Which team can sign the most insignificant
pitchers?" award for landing Boskie and Maddux.


Over the past three seasons, the Expos have felt blessed that
F.P. Santangelo can play six positions, because they dumped so
many players that Felipe Alou never knew which hole he was going
to have to fill next. But Santangelo, 30, is Montreal's starting
leftfielder in '98. Playing every day should help the talented
spark plug--who hit .249 last year despite being hampered by a
bad knee--find a consistent stroke. If he can hit .285, it's a
good bet some contending club will call in July and snatch him
up in exchange for a couple of hot prospects. For the Expos,
that constitutes a very successful season.

Projected Roster With 1997 Statistics
Manager: Felipe Alou (seventh season with Montreal)


2B Orlando Cabrera* (R) R .262 2 14 8
LF F.P. Santangelo S/R .249 5 31 8
RF Vladimir Guerrero R .302 11 40 3
CF Rondell White R .270 28 82 16
1B Brad Fullmer** (R) L/R .311 19 62 6
SS Mark Grudzielanek R .273 4 51 25
3B Jose Vidro S/R .249 2 17 1
C Chris Widger R .234 7 37 2
1B Ryan McGuire L .256 3 17 1


C Bob Henley** R .304 12 49 5
OF Derrick May[***] L/R .228 1 13 4
IF Shane Andrews R .203 4 9 0
IF Mike Mordecai[***] R .173 0 3 0


LH Carlos Perez 12 13 6.4 1.25 3.88
RH Dustin Hermanson 8 8 5.3 1.27 3.69
RH Carl Pavano*(R)[***] 11 6 7.0 1.16 3.12
RH Shawn Boskie[***] 6 6 4.9 1.60 6.43
RH Marc Valdes 4 4 5.0 1.38 3.13


RH Ugueth Urbina 5 8 27 1.27 3.78
RH Anthony Telford 4 6 1 1.29 3.24
LH Rick DeHart 2 1 0 1.60 5.52
RH Shayne Bennett (R) 0 1 0 1.32 3.18
LH Steve Kline+ 4 4 0 1.86 5.98
RH Matt Wagner++ 3 5 0 1.65 6.86

[***]New acquisition (R) Rookie B/T: Bats/throws IPS: Innings pitched per start BR: Base runners per inning pitched
*Triple A stats **Double A stats +Combined AL and NL stats
++1996 Stats